This American business owner has rich dreams of financial and professional independence. The act of hanging tiles represents a key decision for first-time entrepreneurs.
The high-level accomplishments of early-career professionals who can adorn their LinkedIn profiles with three important letters continue to pave the way to entrepreneurship—the MBA.
Illuminate Ventures researched the directions MBA students were taking and discovered the specialization and appeal of designing career paths around a single idea. Over 80% of 500 business school students from more than 20 prestigious institutions considered entrepreneurship a possible next step after graduation. Cindy Padnos, managing partner at Illuminate Ventures, marvels as a professional integrating MBA students as interns. “I’m shocked that so many people are interested in [in entrepreneurship]”
Before the Covid-19 pandemic, estimates from the Graduate Management Admissions Council were far less optimistic about the potential correlation between MBA graduates and entrepreneurial pursuits. Just five short years ago, some 25 percent of MBAs expected to take a path less traveled.
Sandwiched between these findings is the pandemic, which may support an independent approach to career pursuit.
Policy guides practice
University of Michigan (U of M) Ross School of Business student Jeremy Leung is making a comeback before the global shutdown. He had just accepted an internship with American Airlines and hit rock bottom. With no internship to go to, Liang returned to his home in Australia.
Like many students pursuing advanced degrees, Liang has a rich résumé. As a political assistant to the Australian Minister of Foreign Affairs, he provided Leung Chun-ying with a broad worldview opportunity. “Even before my MBA, I benefited from incredible travel and learning-by-doing experiences with world leaders.” Later classes at the University of Michigan gave me a deeper understanding of engagement and witnessing policies and a rare opportunity for diplomatic action. I started seeing the world from a different, manageable perspective,” Liang said.
Leung represents a growing number of international students-turned-entrepreneurs who excel at bridging the strategic dots between business and international relations.
The post-government minister’s efforts brought Liang to New York as director of business, innovation and policy at the US-Australia Society. The largest privately funded non-profit organization dedicated to connecting the US and Australia. Since 2002, the 70-year-old organization has awarded more than $14 million to more than 900 scholars through economic and educational bond efforts.
Working as an MBA business consultant for Uber in Mexico added to Leung’s experience, which ultimately influenced his future choice to enter the entrepreneurial field.
Leung’s approach to business origination and ownership is a transfer or birth from the remnants of the global pandemic. Recent data suggest that the U.S. economy continues to be supported by entrepreneurs from countries outside the continental U.S. 48. registered businesses across the country,” reports Peter Dizikes of the MIT Press Office. As noted in Yasmin Amer’s article on WBUR’s findings, an 80% increase.
The study, co-authored by economist Pierre Azoulay at the MIT Sloan School of Management, shows that immigrants are highly influential in job creation through their efforts.
“Immigration found more companies in each bucket,” Azoulay said. “They created more small companies, they created more mid-sized companies; they created more large companies. That’s not the case [immigrants] Only build growth-oriented startups. They’re not just creating a subsistence business. They created all kinds of businesses, and they created a lot of them. “
According to the American Immigration Council Special Report, The New American Fortune 500 2022, “Immigrant entrepreneurs have long been an important part of the American economic success story. Some of the largest and best-known American companies were founded by immigrants or the children of immigrants Yes. That includes household names like Apple and Costco, as well as newcomers to the Fortune 500 like Jackson Financial and Caesar’s Entertainment.”
Liang hopes to add his name to the list of success stories in the entrepreneurial field. “As I took more and more classes, I started to see windows of opportunity to allow myself to innovate,” Leung said. Global opportunities quickly transformed into Leung Chun-ying’s new way of thinking. His job with an Australian direct selling company changed his perspective on the global market. Leung’s time spent with Australian direct selling company Cettire, combined with the international knowledge he gained, fueled his entrepreneurial spirit. “I’ve found that all of my experiences have provided me with an inner confidence to build my company with a global mindset.”
The current COO and co-founder of California-based start-up e-commerce and logistics company Ascend Ecom reflects on his diverse past. “I realized my interest wasn’t in finding the classic or expected corporate job after my MBA. Truthfully, I saw an opportunity to make the most of a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. The pandemic has reinforced the need for logistics to support the global economy, and I Ready to embrace the entrepreneurial, e-commerce culture,” Leung shared.
According to Inc. magazine, 85 percent of MBA students consider starting a business after graduation. “In fact, nearly one in five Stanford Graduate School of Business MBAs of 2020 went on to start a business. More than one in ten Harvard Business School MBAs did the same,” adds mba.com.
The sheer number of early-career professionals earning an MBA to enter the entrepreneurial world continues to expose the international influence on the global economy. The MBA Association’s annual MBA Entrepreneur of the Year award went to entrepreneur Ximena Aleman from Uruguay, continuing the trend of international winners.
CEOWorld magazine’s ranking of the most entrepreneurial countries shows that the United States leads the way in terms of economic independence. Liang and others from Australia ranked Australia at number 11. “I learned a lot in Michigan, and most importantly, it was a rare opportunity to integrate my international experience in the U.S. I had to start my company here,” Leung lamented.
The unexpected fuel of a global pandemic seems to have sharpened Leung’s and countless MBA graduates’ focus on applying life lessons to career success stories.
The interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.